Small business professionals often wear multiple hats – one of which is often an ill-fitting IT management cap.
Early on, it may be the founder who's expected to help with any – and every -- computer problem. As a company grows, managing a network, IT assets, and software becomes a full-time job, and that raises more challenges. Do you create an IT department or hire a generalist? Either way, is that investment in line with your company's core strengths?
Shifting IT management chores to a PC as a Service (PCaaS) provider alleviates that stress. PCaaS providers – essentially IT departments for hire -- offer a broad portfolio of hardware and software and are responsible for deployments, support, managed services, asset recovery, security, and management. PCaaS offers smaller organizations technology benefits that used to be reserved for enterprise-size companies, including predictable budgeting, efficient IT support, cost savings, easier migration, reduced downtime, and enhanced security.
Predictable budgeting: PCaaS costs are fixed over the course of the agreement, and predictable payments are a lot easier to calculate into a larger budget. Implementations offer flexible payment terms that scale with the business, so if you need more (or less) of something, PCaaS providers can supply the hardware and management expertise.
Effective IT support: Technicians can manage hardware and software throughout the company based on whatever service tier you've selected. The provider will often use centralized management software to keep your systems up-to-date and perform remote maintenance. For example, every Dell system comes with the Dell Client Command Suite and VMWare Workspace ONE, so the provider can access and manage your equipment as needed. Software updates can be performed seamlessly, and the provider can notify users and schedule maintenance via text or email.
Cost savings: When the cost of equipment is figured into your monthly fee, the savings can be significant. Adding and removing devices is easy; replacing older systems before they become too costly to support happens on a regular schedule. Lifecycle management of hardware becomes the vendor's responsibility. IT can also offload much of the management that goes along with supporting endpoint devices, including device disposal. Further, PCaaS takes on IT support, allowing companies to focus on their business. According to a Forrester study commissioned by Dell, companies using Dell PCaaS can reduce monthly PC lifecycle costs per device from $24.34 to $19.39, and see a 12% ROI over three years.
Ease of migration: The learning curve for upgrading to a new computer or server can be steep. Making that transition smooth is critical, though, to keep employees productive. When systems arrive from the PCaaS provider pre-configured (as Dell products do), they are ready to use right out of the box. The Forrester study we cited earlier also found that PCaaS customer organizations use equipment that is two years newer, on average, than that of their peers.
Reduced downtime for IT support: PCaaS helps companies provide remote IT support to their employees 24/7. Employees working late or in a different time zone won't need to worry that their problem will go unanswered until the next business day because IT has gone home. Most PCaaS providers offer around-the-clock support. In addition, Dell provides clients with a Services Delivery Manager, a single point of contact to answer or route service requests.
Enhanced security: PCaaS may protect data and business networks with several safeguards, including secure authentication for users, security measures built into the hardware, and add-on services like data encryption and malware detection/remediation. Because all of the desktops and endpoints can be updated at once from a remote location, security patches and updates happen on schedule. In addition, PCaaS boosts security by inventorying devices and tracking their locations and status.
Improved Business Continuity: That off-site data storage also comes in handy during the aftermath of a natural disaster or power loss. The PCaaS provider will be able to restore critical data and re-provision equipment far more quickly than a business owner trying to rebuild from scratch.
PCaaS has great appeal for SMBs. It allows them to simplify IT management and focus on their core competencies. Billing is easy and predictable, equipment is refreshed on schedule, migrations and provisioning are practically effortless, and that flexibility is a huge advantage for small operations that often must turn on a dime to meet customers' needs.